GOP chairman race: Parker out; Carmichael gains support

This just in:

Courtesy of

By Dennis Welch
The Arizona Guardian

The former Paradise Valley mayor who campaigned for governor and
congress over the past year says he’s out of the running for state
Republican Party chairman.

Vernon Parker told the Guardian on Monday he’s backing out to spare
the party a nasty fight when state GOP members meet later this month
to elect their new leadership.

“I care more about the party than myself and I think the
(congressional) delegation is going to back someone else,” Parker
said. “Do I think I could have won had I stayed in the race?
Absolutely. But at what cost.”

Parker briefly ran for governor until he quit that race to take an
unsuccessful shot at an open congressional seat in Phoenix. He
wouldn’t say which candidate he thinks Arizona’s five Republican congressmen and
two senators will support.

But his decision comes as longtime party insider Ron Carmichael
announced that 11 former county Republican chairman from across the state
have endorsed him to take control of the party.

Several former state party chairmen such as Bob Fannin, Mike Hellon,
Burt Kruglick and Mike Minnaugh are expected to publicly announce
their support of Carmichael in the coming days.

Taken together, it appears Carmichael has positioned himself well
enough to get the backing of the congressional delegation.

Other candidates for the GOP chairmanship include Tucson native Bruce
Ash and the chairman of the Pinal County Republican Committee, Marty

In a signal Ash as picked up support among the party’s grassroots
activists, he recently endorsed Rob Haney for the GOP Maricopa County

Haney has been a longtime critic of Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain. Carmichael
has had a long political relationship with Kyl going back to the days
when the U.S. senator served in the state House.

Republican political consultant Kurt Davis says there are very few
differences between the candidates and the race will come down to
“personalities and alliances.”

“These guys would agree on 99 percent of the issues,” he said. “But
the good news for Republicans is we actually have candidates who want
to be chairman.”

Davis was taking a dig at the Arizona Democratic Party that has had
problems fielding top-tier candidates who want the job.

Dem Chairman Don Bivens recently told the media that he wants to move on but plans on running for a third term as party leader.


  1. hotflashholly says

    Wow…Vernon is a great guy and it is refreshing to see a politician put the GOP ahead of their own ambitions..I am voting for Carmichael..Vernon’s decision makes my own decision easy.

  2. Sen. Jon Kyl shows his contempt for rank and file party workers.

    Jon Kyl: “I always have the view that the role of the state party is to elect Republicans to office. Period. The role of elected officials is to take positions on issues and to represent the people of the whole state. The political parties are more to represent the people within the party in a political context. What that means is, they need to register voters. They need to raise money for the candidates. They need to get-out-the-vote on Election Day. Those are the main things a political party does.”

    The AZ Capitol Times has dutifully removed the article containing the above quote.

    Will Gosar, Schweikert, Quayle and Franks declare themselves top-down establishment Republicans and endorse Carmichael too?

  3. Arizona Aaron says

    Looks like we will finally be able to bring the Party together with Carmichael as chairman. That is going to be a welcome change.

  4. Vernon Parker is a classy guy with a promising political future and Ron Carmichael is the seasoned steady hand that is needed at the helm of the Republican party right now. Good choices by both.


  5. Veritas Vincit says

    Putting the above scripted comments aside. Funny how the article gets posted and automatically there are fawning comments about Carmichael and Vernon?

    But lets look at the reality. “I care more about the party than myself and I think the
    (congressional) delegation is going to back someone else” What this simply means is that Vernon was asked to back out in exchange for some future consideration by the McKyl folks. Vernon Parker cares about his career not the party.

    And there’s more. “… Ron Carmichael
    announced that 11 former county Republican chairman from across the state” Anyone looking at that pathetic list of players, including Rhodes, can tell in a flash that these are **over the hill** as in **former** chairman. They do not represent the current thinking of the party as a whole.

    Lastly look at where this article went public… the Arizona Guardian! Not exactly a Republican news outlet.

    Most likely information for this was “leaked” to the Guardian by that staunch Republican Wes Gullet, or maybe Grant Woods?

    The only reason Carmichael’s hand is “steady” because its fossilized.

  6. Steve Calabrese says

    I am tired of arguing over who is the “most conservative”.

    The state party does not have much power. Never has. However, it will be VITAL that the state party has enough money to wage the inevitable legal battle that will come over redistricting.

    The Democrats have proven they cannot win at the ballot box. They are going to attempt to rig the Congressional redistricting. We must be ready to fight, and I have heard people say they are supporting Carmichael because he can raise the funds to make sure we can mount an effective legal argument should the Congressional redistricting degenerate into the mess that people are expecting.

    Should we fail to ensure the integrity of the redistricting, arguments about policy are moot.

  7. Carmichael it is! All the rest will be yawners, leading us farther into the abyss.

    While they might all be good people, we need a good chairman…finally!

  8. Just ask all the McCain forces…it’s all about “unity.” So, when Bruce Ash wins I’m sure McKyl will “unify” behind Mr. Ash. Right?

  9. Veritas Vincit says

    @Steve Calabrese when exactly was the last time Carmichael raised substantial funds for the AzGOP? Please refresh our collective memory.

    @Gail … no offense dear lady but your posting sounds just like the empty rhetoric espoused by the mindless supporters of Obama not too long ago. You provide us with nothing to support your premise that at 72 and having been semi-retired from the party since what, Richard Nixon’s day, this super-hero is the dynamo to lead us forward into 2012… please… don’t insult our intelligence.

  10. LEO IN TSN says

    As LD20 PC points out, using Jonny McKyl’s own words, the McAmnesty-McKyl-McCarmichael crowd disdain the “little people” who are only suited to blindly supporting whom they’re told to support.

    The author, Mr. Welch, is wrong in saying there is no difference in the candidates. Bruce Ash is a conservative and has publicly aligned himself with all of us “little people” putting him directly at odds with the Party power-mongers.

  11. Lincoln Strategy strikes (out) again! Why do people keep hiring these guys?

    Nathan Sproul has the magic touch.

  12. Well sir, where do I start?

    How about with Randy Pullen’s inane ability to drive people away from the state party machine as evidenced by both the loss in voter numbers and donor dollars. The ineptitude he displayed immediately upon election the first time around prompted folks to move their dollars to more trustworthy sources; namely, candidates specifically of other GOP options.

    This is the cause of the rift, Pullen’s hand and mouth disease. The easy target is to use the pejorative references to Sen. McCain or Kyl…the vast majority of people can see it as nothing more than propping them up as straw men in the game of “Tag…you’re it!”

    Secondly, by his nefarious bookkeeping skills and the duplicitous treasury reports, Mr. Pullen has verified the fears of many. The AZ GOP is bankrupt…in more way than one.

    Pullen couldn’t raise enough money to support good candidates due to HIS actions, time and time again. If the response was untoward…it is his fault and no one else’s!

  13. Gail, Kyl and McCain scared away big donors from the Republican Party. They also pressured speakers booked for fundraising events to back out of their appearances on behalf of the Arizona State GOP. Kyl especially didn’t like how Randy put the State GOP into active opposition to Kyl’s proposed comprehensive immigration reform proposal – something Kyl had promised not to even support much less sponsor when he was campaigning. Kyl never forgave Randy Pullen for helping to shut down his bill which appears to have been a payoff to some of his big contributors. Rather than try to work with Randy Pullen and fulfill their promises to Republican voters, Kyl and McCain have been actively working against him.

    Pullen’s bookkeeping skills are just fine. There have been no problems with either the FEC or the AZ SOS. The state party’s books under Pullen are a vast improvement over the condition they were in when Pullen was first elected. Any member of the State Party Executive Committee can examine the records, and there has never been anything other than unsubstantiated smears (such as yours) concerning the state party’s financial reporting. If there were mistakes in reporting, they were acknowledged and corrected in accordance with campaign finance laws and ethical business practices.

    In spite of the loss of contributions engineered by Kyl and McCain, the party managed to stay afloat and Republicans made legislative gains in 2008 as well as 2010. When Kyl and McCain controlled the party in 2006, we lost big time except for Kyl who was using the party as an extension of his senate campaign without regard to other candidates. Also, the candidates we have elected are generally more conservative than when the party was under the “guidance” of McCain and Kyl.

    Grant Woods, one of McCain’s people, actually endorsed the Democrat in the State Attorney General race in 2010. That had nothing to do with Randy Pullen, but was divisive for the GOP.

    Randy Pullen is not perfect, and he will be the first to agree with that. However, your castigation of Randy Pullen is unwarranted and unfair.

  14. I noticed that comments for later Carmichael posts have been either turned off or frozen. It looks like the comments generally don’t support the intent of the original poster to show a ground swell of support for Carmichael (which is tough to do since it’s not happening).

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